Justin Ove, Director of Wine Education, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards gives us a crash course in home winemaking.
You will need a primary fermentation container, a secondary fermentation container like a glass carboy, a hydrometer to test sugar levels, and a siphon hose for racking.
"This can all be picked up at a homebrew shop, or online at an even more reasonable cost," he said. "We start with our fruit base. Some common fruit wines include plums, apples, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and oranges. You can also use dried flowers and/or herbs like hibiscus, dandelion, and parsley - when you take blending components together into account the variations are practically infinite."
He said, "We cut, or crush our fruit, then we put that fruit right in our primary fermentation tank along with water, sugar and yeast. Many recipes call for things like yeast energizer, tartaric acid, and grape tannin as well. After you've got that in the primary tank then you just wait while the yeast goes to work converting the sugar to alcohol. This process typically takes anywhere from 2-10 days.
After our primary fermentation finishes it's time to rack the wine to a new container and add our potassium metabisulfite. This is a natural preservative that has been used for centuries to protect wine from developing off flavors and odors. The wine will sit here for 1-2 months before it's ready to be bottled. Most recipes will suggest 3-12 months bottle aging before consumption."
Visit Justin and the Arizona Stronghold team at the winery's tasting room in Old Town Cottonwood!
Arizona Stronghold Tasting Room
1023 North Main Street
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
Or online at azstronghold.com
Catch Arizona Stronghold on the road through the Fall as festival season brings the team to a town near you. Visit azstronghold.com to check out where and when they'll be slingin' their tasty vino in your neighborhood!
Scottsdale Super Expo Food & Wine Festival : November 3, 4
Walkin' on Main Street (Cottonwood): November 10
Arizona Wine Growers Festival at the Farm (South Mountain): November 17
Festivalintheplaza.com (Peoria): November 17
Tempe Festival of the Arts November 30, December 1, 2